I like to use the Earl Nightingale definition from a product he created called the strangest secret which is “the progressive realisation of a worthy ideal” which means that if you have chosen your outcome or your goal in life and you are progressively working towards it, you are a success, and If you haven’t then you’re not.
This means that the societal definition which is normally money, big houses and fancy cars can be irrelevant and it can also mean that you can be successful tomorrow if you choose to be. Tony Robbins says that it’s not what people get that makes them happy, but who they become and Jim Rohn used to encourage people to make a goal to earn a million dollars not for the million dollars but for what it will make of them.
Typically what happens when people attain success that society sets up for them, without really knowing why and they achieve that “success”, there is a “what next” or a “is this all there is” feeling. Where as if you pick something meaningful that you want to achieve, have a solid reason why and you are progressively working towards that end, you are a successful person.
Unfortunately that’s how people can work their entire lives and not really achieve anything, because they never set out to and when you compare that to someone who set out to achieve something and they did, it’s often because that’s what they intended to do, it’s nothing more than that.
Earl would say that human beings operate much like ships in the sense that if you go and ask the captain where the ship is going, they can tell you exactly where and also how they are going to get there and if you set sail with no predetermined location, then you can end up anywhere and a well known Jim Rohn quote is the same wind blows on us all, but it’s not the wind that determines where you go in life, but the set of the sail, so that’s the thinking I have adopted on success.